If you do any kind of home improvement or renovation projects, you’ll inevitably end up using brick, concrete or masonry cutting saws along the way – it’s very inconvenient, and sometimes even impossible to do the job without them.
However, when using a tool such as a saw, certain risks are present; therefore steps have to be taken in order to make sure you don’t end up seriously injuring yourself.
But how do you stay safe when working with a saw?
Luckily, it isn’t all that difficult – there are a few guidelines and procedures that should be followed each time you work with a saw, and here are six of the most important ones:
Familiarize yourself with the saw
Are you familiar with the machine you are using? Hand held cutting saws are very versatile for small jobbing tasks due to their portability, great for cutting brick walls for door and window openings and other renovations tasks. Most saws are 2 stroke powered and Carbon Monoxide from saws builds up quickly and is deadly so ensure there is sufficient ventilation before starting the job. Dry cutting will generate a lot of dust and poses a health risk so always use dust extraction or water for wet cutting.
Wear Protective Equipment and Clothing
This can’t be emphasized enough – sawing accidents can happen because of not wearing protective equipment and clothing. Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) should consist of protective goggles, face shield or safety glasses, hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs, steel capped safety boots and gloves.
Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting and durable clothing is also very important. Remember, debris from cutting or metal sparks may go flying around, so you want the clothes to be able to absorb the contact or provide a layer of protection.
Changing blades and refueling
Always switch the saw off when changing blades and refueling. This may seem like a small step, but it is also simply essential, because no one can completely guarantee that a saw won’t start working in the middle of you changing its blades.
Things fall down, everyone’s clumsy once in a while, and you don’t want to take a chance with being clumsy when changing the blades on a running saw. It literally takes only a moment to restart the saw, so perhaps it’s not that big a sacrifice to make for your safety.
Never refuel the saw in your work area and allow a few minutes for the machine to cool before refueling.
Check the Cutting Material for Unexpected Objects or services
Before starting the actual cutting process, always thoroughly inspect the concrete or brick or other materials that you intend to saw – you might be surprised to find electrical cables for light switches, power points or other electrical services lodged in the walls or cavities. While sawing, this could cause electrocution, so always turn off or isolate the power prior to cutting.
Watch for falling debris
Before you carry out your cutting task think about what will happen to the material or object you will cut. Will it fall over or down once its cut? Never underestimate the weight of brick or concrete floors or walls that have been cut out. If they fall on you or another person the consequence could be deadly. Cut the material into small pieces so it can be manually handled.
Stay Sober and Focused
Finally, although this probably doesn’t need to be said, you should never take on any sawing tasks if you’re not completely sober and focused.
I know a lot of people like to sip beer while they work on their home improvement, but that is only okay when you’re not working with potentially deadly equipment. Even a few beers can throw off your coordination, make it more difficult to focus and cause you to slip up. And with a saw, even a single mistake can cause irreversible damage.
Author Bio: This article is written and submitted by Matthew Funnell, who works with Supercut (WA) Pty Ltd, a privately owned concrete cutting and core drilling company serving Western Australia for 20 years.